Setting Up the Day for Success

Setting Up the Day for Success

Do you want every day at work to be successful? When at the office, do you sometimes look up and say, “Holy crap, it is noon already. Where has the morning gone?”  Much has been written about how to start each morning and set up the day for success. The most famous is by Mark Twain who said, “The first thing you should do each morning is eat a live frog!” His theory was that if you do the worst thing on your agenda first; then the rest of the day will be great because nothing can be worse than eating a live frog! There is much merit to that. Get the big projects out of the way or those things you hate doing (cold calls, collections, proposal writing, report writing) done first before anything else. If you fail to do this, there will typically be no time in the day left for big or unpleasant tasks if you do all the fun/“quick” things first.

I am a little different, though. I am very routine-oriented. (Surprise—this is coming from the guy who delivers a commentary to your in-box every Tuesday morning at about the same time without fail for years versus sporadic, different days when I have time.) I feel that the “routine approach” allows me to be organized and accomplish much more in a day. So, how do I start the morning? Here is a typical morning (remembering that I am on the road 150 days a year or so and that some days are hotel room mornings).

  • I get up early. That is part of the trick or routine. And no matter which time zone (Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, or Atlantic), I try to get up at the same time—local time every day. That way, I will typically have the same amount of time to do the same routine each morning. Also, they say it is better for your metabolism to adjust to local time and keep your wake-up time routine.
  • I have a cardio and strength cardia rehab routine that I undertake each morning which takes about 90 minutes of my day. Then I make myself some breakfast—at least prepare it—typically half a grapefruit and hot lemon water—the lemon water first. It acts like a cleanse for your body first thing in the morning. I bring these items, and possibly yogurt, to wherever I have my computer (office desk, hotel room desk, etc.) and begin work.
  • I review my plan for the day (I prepare the plan the night before—my task list, priorities, and when will I do those things). Because I am with clients or prospects most days, all day, I try to get the “work” part done before I meet with clients or start my “business operations” day.
  • Prior to hitting the street for client or prospect meetings, I review any emails that came in overnight (I respond to all emails as needed—before I head out; I want my in-box to be empty just as it was when I shut down my computer the night before).
  • I look at my allocated time for the day—meetings, office work such as proposals or reports on the agenda and look at the time blocked for them, and the planned hours for each. This allows me to understand that the day is planned and how all can be accomplished.
  • I then look at my task list and see what needs to be done—bills paid, send off emails, send out reminders, book meetings, arrange travel, etc. I then try to accomplish all of those things before I start my day. My goal is to get all my emails out and tasks accomplished before I head out to meet with clients.
  • I also review all my Google Alerts (6), and other daily blogs / newsletters (4) and reports (3) to which I subscribe. I see what is important, and schedule it appropriately to read, view, or share. The key is every morning I look at what is happening in our industry, so I am in the know for today!
  • I then move to social media. I spend a good 45 minutes to an hour online with X / Twitter and LinkedIn (mostly LinkedIn) sharing content, reading posts and shares, as well as accepting invitations, and of course, reaching out to people who have had a change of job (left one, started a new one, etc.) and send a congratulatory note or “like.” I also try to send everyone in my LinkedIn who shares their birth date with me a personalized birthday greeting. Between looking at “status changes,” responding, and birthdays, that might be 20 to 30 notes in a morning. This, though, is important for me in staying connected with my network and is an important part of my “routine.”
  • By this point, I can have a shower and get dressed. Then I begin my day with clients, report work, business development work, or whatever.
  • The key to this routine each morning for me is that, by the time I am heading out the door, I have accomplished a ton and I feel like I am on a roll. It is as though I build momentum in the morning and that is what takes me through the day. I can enjoy the work I do for the rest of the day knowing how much I have accomplished before I really “start my business day.”

This approach is not for everyone, but it sure works for me. I would welcome hearing what others have for morning routines that have brought them success.

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